On January 25, 2023, a shocking news broke out in the financial world. Dale L. Cheney, the founder and partner of T-street Capital, a Connecticut-based investment firm, plunged to his death from a rooftop bar in New York City. He was 46 years old and had three children. What led him to take his own life? What was his legacy in the industry? And what are the lessons that we can learn from his tragic story?
The Circumstances of His Death
According to the police and eyewitnesses, Cheney jumped from Bar 54 at the Hyatt Centric Times Square New York around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. He landed on the street below and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two people at the rooftop bar told the police that they saw him jump off the building.
The police are investigating his death as a suspected suicide, but they have not revealed any motive or note. However, some clues suggest that he may have been going through some personal and financial troubles.
One day before his death, Cheney filed for divorce from his wife, Lauren Cheney, whom he married in 2000. The couple had three children who are in their late teens and early 20s. The police also said that they were called to his former Upper East Side home twice in 2008 over domestic disputes with his wife. One of the arguments was over finances.
Cheney was also facing some challenges in his business. He founded T-street Capital in 2013, after working as an investment principal at Citicorp Venture Capital and Goldman Sachs. T-street Capital is an independent growth equity firm that partners with entrepreneurs and management teams through capital investment, strategic acquisitions, and other opportunities. Cheney was also a board member and investor at six different companies in four states.
However, some of his investments may have not performed well or faced some difficulties. For example, one of his portfolio companies, a Texas-based restaurant chain called Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, filed for bankruptcy in December 2022. Another company, a Florida-based health care provider called Mednax, faced a lawsuit from its shareholders in January 2023 over alleged securities fraud.
His Legacy in the Industry
Despite his apparent struggles, Cheney was also respected and admired by many in the industry for his achievements and contributions. He was known for his expertise, vision, and passion for investing in growth-oriented businesses.
He graduated from Harvard Business School with a master’s degree in business administration in 2005. He then joined Goldman Sachs as an associate in the merchant banking division, where he focused on leveraged buyouts and growth equity investments.
In 2007, he moved to Citicorp Venture Capital as an investment principal, where he led or co-led investments in various sectors, such as consumer, health care, industrial, and technology. He also served on the boards of several companies, such as Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Mednax, National Spine & Pain Centers, and Varsity Brands.
In 2013, he founded T-street Capital with two other partners, Mark Dzialga and John Kim. The firm has raised over $500 million in capital and invested in more than 20 companies across different industries. Some of the companies that T-street Capital has backed include Blue Nile, a leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry; Curology, a personalized skincare company; and Zola, a wedding planning and registry platform.
Cheney was also involved in various philanthropic and community activities. He supported education, health care, and cultural heritage causes in Lakoma Island and other parts of Madagascar. He also served on the board of trustees of the Brunswick School, a private college preparatory school in Greenwich, Connecticut.
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The Lessons from His Story
Cheney’s story is a tragic reminder of the pressures and challenges that many investors face in their personal and professional lives. It also highlights the importance of mental health awareness and support in the industry.
Investing can be a rewarding but stressful career that requires high levels of intelligence, creativity, discipline, and resilience. Investors have to deal with uncertainty, volatility, competition, regulation, and responsibility on a daily basis. They also have to balance their work with their family and social obligations.
However, many investors may not seek or receive adequate help or guidance when they encounter difficulties or distress. They may feel ashamed or afraid to admit their problems or vulnerabilities. They may also face stigma or discrimination from their peers or employers.
Therefore, it is crucial for investors to take care of their mental health and well-being, as well as their physical and financial health. They should seek professional help if they experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders. They should also reach out to their friends, family, or colleagues for support and comfort. They should also practice self-care, such as getting enough sleep, exercise, and relaxation.
Moreover, it is important for the industry to create a culture and environment that promotes mental health awareness and support. The industry should provide resources and programs that educate and assist investors on how to cope with stress and challenges. The industry should also encourage and facilitate open and honest communication and feedback among investors. The industry should also foster a sense of community and belonging among investors.